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'Good' Developer Experience is all about understanding and catering to your customers' needs
By: SmartBear Blog
Sep. 2, 2017 01:00 PM
Developer Experience: The Key to a Successful API
User experience is the key to adoption. If no one understands how to use your product, they won't buy it. This is equally true in the world of APIs. Developers are more likely to adopt and stick with a platform or service that they enjoy using. The key to the success of your API, then, is the Developer Experience.
But what is Developer Experience?
"Good" Developer Experience is all about understanding and catering to your customers' needs. To do this, you must also understand who your customer is. One mistake that many software organizations make is misunderstanding who their audience is. Your API doesn't only need to be easy to use for a technical audience, but also for API decision makers, because although they are often less technical, they will decide if their team ultimately adopts your platform.
As your API needs to appeal to technical and non-technical people alike, the entire adoption process for your API should be as straight forward as possible.
Your consumers will seek answers to four questions on their journey from discovery to consumption of your API.
The answers to each of these questions should be clear to your users from the outset. For example, discovering your major value points should not be difficult, and registering for your service should require minimal effort and information. You can learn more about how to think about your API Developer Experience in slides 10 through 24 below.
Where API Documentation fits in:
Never assume that your audience is only developers that are familiar with API or domain jargon! Instead, write in plain English where possible, and provide context clues for any jargon that is absolutely necessary.
Don't leave anything to the imagination of your users. Instead, include your full sample response body, including any errors that could appear. Provide examples and use cases to further clarify plausible scenarios.
Experimentation is power! Allow developers to experiment with your API so that they can discover your value proposition before even adopting the API. To do this, provide "Getting Started" guides, SDKs, tutorials and interactive documents and consoles.
If you don't have the time to write out your API documentation try open source Swagger UI or SwaggerHub that allow you to write your API contract, and auto-generate the documentation.
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